KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Overlooking dozens of helicopters in the brisk night air of Afghanistan, liaison officers (LNOs) from each task force in Regional Command South relax, mingle, and create good personal working relationships with each other next to the warmth of two flickering fires. This happens every Saturday night when the LNOs meet on the roof of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Headquarters on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to discuss a variety of topics.
"The meetings were created in order to conduct face-to-face interaction that cannot be done over the phone," said Sgt. Christopher Duysings, an aviation movement request non-commissioned officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB, originally from Coupeville, Wash. "This type of partnership makes mission planning much more effective."
With any job in the military, having a good working relationship with counterparts in other units is a must. Having that relationship allows operations between units to flow smoothly.
"This relaxed, friendly environment allows people to talk more freely and address concerns," said Australian Capt. Shaun Fisk, a Rotary Wing LNO with the Australian army. "It is very great coming to these. They help us with work issues and provide some down time as well."
Duysings was pleased with how these types of meetings enabled everyone to work smoother with each other.
"After the first couple meetings, I noticed all the LNOs and AMR personnel worked better together," Duysings said. "These have allowed us to smooth over some problem areas that a formal meeting environment has trouble with. People seem to be defensive in a formal environment. These meetings allow people to open up and form better working relationships with each other."
One positive change that resulted in improved working relationships, the 25th CAB was able to execute more air mission requests.
"The opportunity created by these meetings to informally discuss future operations is invaluable to maintaining the operational tempo," said Fisk.